Brand Identity – A Brand Building Concept

Brand identity is a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or maintain. These associations represent what the brand stands for and imply a promise to customers from the organization members.

Brand identity should establish a relationship between the brand and the customer by generating a value proposition involving functional, emotional or self-expressive benefits.

Brand identity consists of a core identity and an extended identity. The core identity represents the timeless essence of a brand .It is central to both the meaning and success of the brand. It indicates the reasons why the brand as been brought into existence. It contains the associations that are most likely to remain constant as the brand travels to new markets and products. The elements of the core identity remain more resistant to change than the elements of the extended identity. Thus the core identity is timeless while the brand position or the communication strategies might change. It is generally the first word that people behind the brand may utter when asked what the brand stands for:

  • Lux – Beauty bar for young women
  • Dettol – Antiseptic, protection
  • Johnson&Johnson – Trust and quality a baby needs

The extended brand identity includes elements that provide texture and completeness. The core identity usually does not possess enough detail to perform all of the functions of a brand identity. In particular, a brand identity should help a company decide which program or communication is effective and which be damaging or off the target. Even a well-thought-out and on-target core identity may ultimately be too ambiguous or incomplete for this task. A brand personality does not often become a part of the core identity. However it can be exactly the right vehicle to add the needed texture and completeness by being a part of the extended identity. It provides the strategist with the opportunity to add full detail to complete the picture.

Brand identity consists of twelve dimensions organized around four perspectives:

  • Brand as a product
  • Brand as an organization
  • Brand as a person
  • Brand as a symbol


core element of a brand’s identity is usually its product thrust, which will affect the type of associations that are desirable and feasible. A strong link to a product class means that the brand will be recalled when the product class is cued. A dominant brand will often be the only brand recalled.

Band Aid in adhesive bandages i.e. whenever we think of bandages Band Aid is the first thing that comes to our mind. And many a times the consumers use the word Band Aid instead of bandage.

Similarly, Bisleri is the word almost synonymous with the mineral water. Whenever one thinks of mineral water Bisleri is the first name that comes to their mind. (Now the leader in this segment is Kinley)


The brand as organization perspective focuses on attributes of the organization rather than those of the product or service. The people, culture, values and programs of the company create such organization attributes as innovation, a drive for quality and concern for the environment. Some brand aspects can be described as product attributes in some contexts and organizational attributes in other contexts. Quality or innovation, for instance could be a product-related attribute if it is based on the design and features of a specific product offering while if it is based on the organizational cultures values and programs it would be an organizational-related attribute. In some cases there can be a combination of the two perspectives. However organizational attributes are more enduring and more resistant to competitive claims than are product attributes because:

  • It is much easier to copy a product than to copy an organization with unique people, cultures and programs.
  • Organizational attributes usually apply to a set of product classes and a competitor in only one product class may find difficult to compete.
  • Organizational attributes such as being innovative are hard to communicate and evaluate it is difficult for competitors to demonstrate that they have overcome any perceived gap.


Brand personality is an important area of study for at least two reasons. First, research has shown that a strong brand personality may justify a higher price premium. Moreover, brand personality can play a key role in differentiating a brand in a product category where there is actually little or no difference between products.  Prior research indicates that the greater the similarity between a consumer’s personality characteristics and the characteristics that they believe comprise the brand, the greater the preference for that brand. Brand-as-person perspective suggests a brand identity that is richer and more interesting than one based on product attributes. Like a person, a brand can be perceived as being upscale, competent, impressive, trustworthy, fun, active, humorous, casual, formal, youthful or intellectual.

FARDEEN KHAN for PROVOGUE – In this case you would associate Fardeen Khan with someone who is cool, trendy, from the upper class, fun loving. With Fardeen khan endorsing for provogue people’s perception about Provogue clothes is also cool, trendy, for people who are fun loving.

FARDEEN KHAN for PROVOGUE – In this case you would associate Fardeen Khan with someone who is cool, trendy, from the upper class, fun loving. With Fardeen khan endorsing for provogue people’s perception about Provogue clothes is also cool, trendy, for people who are fun loving.

A brand personality can help create a stronger brand in many ways:

  • It can help create a self-expressive benefit that becomes a vehicle for the customer top express his or her personality. E.g. an Apple user might consider himself to be casual, anti corporate and creative.
  • Just as human personalities affect relationship between people, brand personality can be the basis of a relationship between the customer and the brand. E.g. Mercedes Benz might be perceived as a upscale, admired person.
  • It might help communicate a product attribute and thus contribute to a functional benefit. E.g. The strong, energetic personality of the Ambuja man suggests that Ambuja cement is also strong and energetic.


A strong symbol can provide cohesion and structure to an identity and make it much easy to gain recognition and recall. Its presence can be a key ingredient of brand development and its absence can be substantial handicap. Elevating symbols to the status of being part of the brand identity reflects their potential power. Anything that represents a brand can be a symbol including programs such as the Ronald McDonald house. Symbols involving visual imagery can be memorable and powerful such as the Nike’s “Swoosh” symbol and the McDonald’s golden arches. Each strong visual image captures much of its respective brand’s identity because connections between the symbol and the identity elements have been built up over time. It just takes a glance to be reminded of the brand.


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